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Review: ‘The Last of Us’ Episode 7 – “Left Behind”

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Last week’s episode of The Last of Us is proof that the series is getting better every week. Breaking viewership records with each new episode seems normal at this point. The latest episode adapts a DLC from the game, titled Left Behind. Was this week’s episode a good adaptation? Find out in our review of The Last of Us episode 7, “Left Behind.”

[Warning: Spoilers from The Last of Us episode 7 are below!]

Ellie faces tough choices in “Left Behind” 

In the last episode, Joel (Pedro Pascal) struggled with what to do with Ellie (Bella Ramsey). He didn’t want to lose her the way he lost Sarah (Nico Parker), though he doesn’t want to admit it. However, after much deliberation, he and Ellie leave Jackson, Wyoming. Their new destination is Salt Lake City, Utah, where they hope to find a Fireflies base. Unfortunately, they are attacked by scavengers upon reaching Boulder, Colorado.

Joel is badly injured by one of the scavengers and Ellie now has to take care of him. This is where “Left Behind” begins. Joel is barely conscious and wants Ellie to leave him and return to Tommy (Gabriel Luna). Instead, she decides to look for things that can help him. As she walks through the door, it cuts to Ellie at the FEDRA school. She’s going through a really tough time after her friend Riley (Storm Reid) leaves FEDRA. Every day Ellie is bullied and thrown into a hole.

Interestingly, during this time she’s presented with two choices. Either she becomes an officer/chief and lives a good life, or a simple soldier wondering when she’ll die. She chooses option number one.

That same day at night, Riley returns for her, saying she has a surprise. They escape and head to the roof. Thanks to a great VFX team, we see how devastated Boston, Massachusetts is at the time. We learn that even though FEDRA are good to their soldiers, they aren’t nice to everyone else. On their way to the rooftop, they find a man who overdosed on pills and alcohol. Fortunately for them, he is not infected.

Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Riley (Storm Reid) in The Last of Us "Left Behind" episode
Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Riley (Storm Reid) in The Last of Us “Left Behind” episode (HBO/HBO Max)

They take the bottle of alcohol and drink as they discuss how the Fireflies and FEDRA are not so different. Although they are all brutal in their own way, Ellie agrees that Riley is not a bad person. Finally, after jumping and racing across rooftops, the girls arrive at their destination. It’s a large shopping center that FEDRA closed, but they manage to get in. FEDRA’s reason for shutting it down is that it’s full of infected people. Ellie and Riley find no infected individuals there.

I loved when Ellie discovers the escalator for the first time. She has never seen one before and becomes excited. It reminds viewers to find happiness in the smallest things. The friends ride the iconic carousel from the DLC, showing that their relationship is not what it seems. We know they are best friends, but at this moment viewers understand it’s something more than friends.

The moment when a “miracle” happened in The Last of Us episode 7

When Ellie walks into a “game room” at the mall, she reacts like any of us – with great excitement. This is really sweet because she and Riley can play whatever they want and for however long they want. If you remember, a Mortal Kombat II slot machine was featured in one of the previous episodes. Back then, Ellie said she heard it was a really good game. Now we know why, and it’s because she played in it.

While they’re kicking butt in a Raiden vs Millena fight, we see that there’s an infected hiding in one of the stores. It teases the inevitable, which is just waiting to happen. Ellie finds out Riley is living in the mall and has created pipe bombs, which she intends to use against FEDRA soldiers. As soon as Ellie sees Riley stammer out an answer, she walks away.

Ellie and Riley in The Last of Us: Left Behind video game
Ellie and Riley in The Last of Us: Left Behind video game (Naughty Dog/Sony)

After a few minutes, Ellie returns and finds Riley sitting silently in a Halloween store. They talk about the whole situation and start partying with horror masks on. For the first time, we see them kissing. Just as they decide to leave, the infected attacks them. Ellie kills him, but both are bitten. They think it’s over for both of them, hugging each other for comfort.

Ellie won’t leave anyone behind, especially Joel

Immediately after Ellie and Riley’s last scene together, the series returns to Joel lying in the basement. Ellie finds stitches to close his wound and at this moment she decides she will never leave and lose him. This episode perfectly sums up Ellie’s emotional growth journey. She went from being a scared kid who pretends to be a badass, to a caring and courageous individual.

Even though Joel is not her father and she is not his daughter, they now treat each other as such. There is no return from this situation. All that was left for them was to make sure that Joel eventually recovers and make it to Salt Lake City, Utah. 

 

I really like how The Last of Us perfectly balances showing past and present events. It allows fans to get to know the characters better. Even big fans of the game like me can find something new and interesting in this episode that we haven’t seen before. The scenes of these two young yet brilliant actresses are something that will surely be remembered for a long time.

The Last of Us episodes 1 – 7 are available on HBO  and HBO Max, with new episodes arriving weekly. What did you think about this episode? Let us know on Twitter or The Cosmic Circus Discord. And if you haven’t already, check out our review from episode 6 of The Last of Us.

Review: The Last of Us Episode 6 – “Kin”

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Wiktor Reinfuss

Big fan of all sorts of pop culture stuff. I also enjoy ambitious cinema. Games, music and graphics are all within my interests. I have a great fondness for the Arrowverse series, especially The Flash.

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